Friday, June 23, 2023

Maximum Truth: Movie Review

A funny premise that wears thin quickly.
Maximum Truth is a political satire, but even that phrase makes it sound wittier than it is. The lead character, Rick Klingman (Ike Barinholtz) is a right-wing grafter. His primary purpose in life is to become rich and/or famous by taking down those he disagrees with politically. This is a character born out of social media, and the entire movie is him chasing clout and “exposing truth” also known as “making shit up”. If it sounds like a thin premise, that’s because it is.   2023

Directed by: David Stassen

Screenplay by: Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen

Starring: Ike Barinholtz, Dylan O'Brien

The story basically starts (after too long introducing the character because it’s clear as day what he’s like) when this old rich woman decides she doesn’t want Antonio Kelly-Zhang (Max Minghella) to win in a LA congressional race, so she hires Rick’s company “Maximum Truth” to find the truth about Antonio. That’s the entire movie and it goes exactly as you would expect for an idiot conservative who’s desperate for fame who’s going to manufacture dirt on a political candidate.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t funny. It is. But there are not enough jokes for an 86-minute movie. It’s not even a long movie, and they can barely stretch it out. For the opening joke, Rick is trying to shut down a play that alleges Abraham Lincoln was gay so he’s assembled a very small number of protestors and calls a press conference, but the capper here is Seth Rogen in a brief cameo playing a version of himself and is very funny.

The movie feels like a thousand jokes all making fun of the same character seeing which will stick. And like all movies like this, some jokes are funny, some aren’t, most are just mildly humorous at best and it ends up being exhausting.

Ike Barinholtz fits this type of character well, but he’s also arguably too famous. He’s too Ike Barinholtz-y here and isn’t nearly as funny as he is in most of his other movies. On the flip side is Dylan O’Brien as Simon an energetic, muscle-head on constant get rich quick schemes and is hired by Rick on his conquest for the truth about Antonio. I have never seen Dylan O’Brien like this and he is very funny and really helps elevate the comedy. Max Minghella only has one scene as Antonio but nails his realization of who this Rick Klingman guy is. There are also a number of other famous faces popping up for a joke or two.

The premise for Maximum Truth is funny, but that’s the main problem. It’s a premise or a solid A-storyline in a twenty-two-minute sitcom. There just isn’t enough material here to be entertaining for the whole runtime.

Available to rent on iTunes and Amazon

Something Similar But Different:

  The Hater (2022) - A political movie trying to present a balanced message.

  The Disappearance of Toby Blackwood (2022) - A pandemic comedy about conspiracy theories.

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